The weather is warming up and not long until many Brits go on holiday. More and more people are also including their four-legged friend – well why not, they’re part of the family after all and it’s far easier to take them with you these days!
We think it’s great for you to take your dog on holiday and as Vets we can offer you lots of advice about travel safety and disease awareness. There’s a lot of coverage in the media at the moment about dog illnesses. Sadly, it’s true to say that more relaxed pet passport rules and the ease of canine travel, has meant diseases usually not seen, or rarely seen in the UK, are rearing their ugly heads. There are five particular diseases you should be aware of – Lyme disease, babesiosis, lungworm, Alabama rot and seasonal canine illness. All of these diseases are serious and potentially life threatening for your dog. Thankfully, we live in a relatively low risk area for these diseases, but if you are travelling with your dog, either in the UK or into Europe, the risk increases.
Both Lyme disease and babesiosis are carried by ticks. Ticks are a bloodsucking, parasitic arachnid. They live in woodland and long grasses, waiting for a host to brush past. Once onboard, they embed themselves into the skin and feed on the animal’s blood, growing up to 600 times their original size in doing so. They can cause irritation, infection, abscesses and more dangerously – transmit disease. You can dramatically lower the risk of these diseases by checking your dog after walks for ticks (especially after walking in wooded or long grass areas) and keep up-to date with prescription-strength tick treatments. It is worth noting that Lyme disease can transmit to people too!
Lungworm is transmitted by slugs and snails – an odd thing to eat you would think, but as a dog owner, you know they could eat anything! Lungworm is a preventable disease, all it requires is an effective, monthly worming tablet. (Although we also recommend discouraging the consumption of slugs and snails!).
Things are a little more complicated when it comes to Alabama rot and seasonal canine illness. They are relatively new diseases to our shores, first noted in 2012 and 2009 respectively. Alabama rot, as the name suggests, was first found in Alabama (USA), and causes skin lesions and kidney failure.
Seasonal canine illness
(SCI) causes dogs to become very ill, very quickly (usually within 72 hours of visiting woodland) with sickness, diarrhoea, and lethargy. Most cases of SCI are seen from August to November (hence the name). Unfortunately, the cause of these diseases is unknown and research is ongoing. Without a known cause, it is difficult to give advice on how to prevent disease, instead we advise that if you see any signs, you seek immediate veterinary treatment for your pet.
Find out more about these diseases online: theveterinaryexpert.com or pethealthinfo.org.uk or aht.org.uk
Next issue, we’ll give you tips and advice about travelling safely with your pet in the
UK and abroad.
For more information, please speak to Cromwell Vets or call 01487 800199. 24hr Emergency Service: 01480 52222